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The Marcellus Shale, Explained

Background

Marcellus Shale is a sedimentary rock buried thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface. It stretches from upstate New York south through Pennsylvania to West Virginia and west to parts of Ohio. Named after a town in upstate New York, the rock itself is millions of years old, formed from mud and organic material. The natural gas created over millions of years as a byproduct of decomposition is trapped in tiny spaces and fissures within the rock. The Marcellus Shale is just one of many shale formations across the world. When industry speaks of tapping shale gas, it often refers to it as a “shale play.” The Marcellus is one of the first shale plays to be tapped, after the Barnett Shale formation in Texas.

Latest Posts

New York’s heralded fracking ban isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

In 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a bold statement by banning hydraulic fracturing in the Empire State, declaring alongside his health commissioner that “no child should live near” a shale-gas well because of its potential harm. The governor’s proclamation made him a hero among environmentalists and persona non grata in the oil and gas industry. [...]

Well pad fire in Somerset County prompts evacuation of nearby residents

Some Somerset County residents were evacuated Thursday morning after firefighters responded to a fire on a natural gas well pad. There were no injuries. Flames and odors of gas were first reported to authorities shortly before 9 a.m., according to a Somerset County 911 incident report. The Tribune Review cited emergency dispatchers who said several [...]

FERC sued over alleged ‘unconstitutional’ granting of pipeline certificates

Via NJ Spotlight In another challenge to the expansion of natural-gas pipelines, a conservation group is accusing a federal agency of unlawfully allowing the taking of private land in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Trenton. The lawsuit filed against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation is the [...]

Lawmaker: Natural gas lobby too influential in severance tax debate

A Democratic lawmaker from Delaware County says the current debate over the severance tax is unduly influenced by the natural gas industry, which has spent millions lobbying lawmakers. With more than 200 gas industry lobbyists registered in Harrisburg, State Rep. Greg Vitali says the industry has spent $3.7 million on lobbying the Capitol this year [...]

New gas pipeline capacity sharply exceeds consumption, report says

Charges that the U.S. pipeline industry is building far more natural gas pipelines than it needs are being fueled by a new report showing that the capacity of lines approved by federal regulators over the last two decades was more than twice the amount of gas actually consumed daily in 2016. The report by the [...]

Plaintiffs ask judge to revoke ‘illegal’ Mariner East 2 permits

Three environmental groups urged a judge to revoke some environmental permits for the Mariner East 2 pipeline without holding a trial, saying there are ‘undisputed’ facts showing that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection broke the law in issuing the permits. Clean Air Council, Delaware Riverkeeper Network and the Mountain Watershed Association filed a motion [...]

PUC’s West Goshen ruling cheers advocates for local control over pipelines

Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission halted Sunoco’s plans to build a valve for its Mariner East 2 pipeline in Chester County’s West Goshen Township, raising questions about whether the massive cross-state project will be completed on time, and encouraging advocates for local control over gas development. The commission voted unanimously on Thursday to uphold a judge’s [...]

Marcellus Shale boom cuts costs for Pennsylvania ratepayers

Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale gas boom has significantly cut energy costs for consumers across the state, according to a new study released Friday by the University of Pennsylvania. Residential gas customers have seen a price drop of 40 percent on average, compared to costs ten years ago. Before Marcellus production ramped up, Pennsylvania produced just one percent [...]

Energy Secretary Rick Perry faces tough sell on coal and nuke subsidies

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry continues to defend his plan to have ratepayers subsidize coal and nuclear production in the face of greater competition from cheap natural gas and growing renewables. Perry took his message to the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia Friday morning. He left quickly, without taking audience questions. Perry’s pitch followed [...]

Water problems persist along Mariner East pipeline route despite court intervention

Water impacts continue at numerous Pennsylvania sites where Sunoco is building the Mariner East 2 pipeline two months after a court-brokered agreement. The settlement between environmental groups and Sunoco Pipeline was designed to prevent horizontal directional drilling from damaging aquifers and spilling fluid into wetlands. Data from the Department of Environmental Protection show 18 “inadvertent [...]

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